Semiya Payasam (Seviyan Kheer)

Payasam is usually the last item served in a traditional South Indian meal, as dessert.  Many varieties of payasams  are made using different ingredients like broken wheat, rice (basmati) sago, and pulses like green gram dhal etc. This recipe uses vermicelli (semiya) as the main ingredient. Vermicelli in India is made from semolina and is known as seviyan in Hindi and as semiya in Tamil.Semiya payasam is also known as kheer in North India.

Semiya Payasam (Seviyan Kheer) 1
Payasam

Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients:

Milk: 500 ml
Refined sugar: 100 grams or ½ cup
Vermicelli (Semiya):1 cup or 40 grams
Cashew nuts: 10
Raisins: 10
Cardamom: 2
Ghee (clarified butter) 1teaspoon
Grated coconut: 2 tablespoon

Semiya Payasam (Seviyan Kheer) 2

Method: Adding one teaspoon ghee (clarified butter) roast the cashew and raisin and set aside. If vermicelli is not roasted, you will have to roast it lightly in the remaining ghee. Allow the milk to boil on high heat in a thick bottomed vessel. When it starts to boil, stir it for 5 minutes. Reducing the heat to medium add the roasted vermicelli and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Add the sugar, cardamom powder, grated coconut and cook for a couple of minutes. Garnish with raisins and cashew nut and serve hot.

 

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Adhirasam (Athirasam)

Adhirasam or Athirasam is a typical, traditional Tamilnadu sweet item that is usually made during festivals. Jaggery is a main ingredient used here, instead of cane sugar. Adhirasam is popular mainly in the Southern districts of Tamilnadu and also in the Chettinad area.

Adhirasam
Adhirasam

Cooking Time: 2 hours (over 2 days).

No of pieces: 20

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice: 500 grams (3 cups)
    2. Powdered Jaggery (unrefined sugar): 400 grams ( 3 cups)
    3. Cardamom: 8
    4. Water (for making syrup):  3/4 cup
    5. Ghee (Clarified butter): 75 grams
    6. Oil (preferably sunflower): 750 ml

Method:

Soak raw rice in water for an hour. Drain water and using a blender, make into smooth fine flour. You will get nearly 6 cups of rice flour. Powder the cardamom and add to the flour. For 2 cups raw rice flour use one cup powdered jaggery to make syrup.

Take 3/4  cup water in a pan, add the jaggery and simmer over medium heat till it becomes syrup. Strain the syrup to remove large particles and let simmer again over low heat.  You must get the syrup flavor and a “one thread” consistency. Pour a drop or two in a cup of water. If the syrup settles down into a ball at the bottom of the cup of water without disintegrating, you have reached the desired consistency. Remove from stove and add the wet rice flour with the ghee. Mix the flour and  the syrup well and set aside for 1 – 3 days, covering the mouth of the container with a thin cloth.

Heat oil in a deep-fry pan over medium flame. Apply some oil on a strip of banana leaf.  Make balls of the mixture from the previous step and press them into round adhirasams on the leaf and gently drop them into the hot oil. Use a “poondhi” (boondhi) ladle to remove the adhirasam when they are fried to a deep golden brown. To remove excess oil use a thick flat ladle to press down the athirasam and squeeze the oil out.

Adhirasam (Athirasam) 2

Tips: Adhirasams can be stored for up to a month in airtight containers. The rice flour should not become dry when it is added to the jaggery syrup. You will get about 20 adhirasams for half kg rice.

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Paniyaram – Pan Cakes

Paniyaram is a quick-to-make snack eaten during tea time and at special occasions. It is easy to make in a few minutes when unexpected guests or hungry kids need to be served.

Paniyaram (Pan Cakes)

Cooking Time: 15 minutes.

Servings :  2

Ingredients:

  • Refined wheat flour (Maida)  – 1 cup or 100grams
  • Egg  – 1
  • Refined sugar  – 50 grams
  • Banana (ripe)  – 1
  • Soda bi-carb (cooking soda)  – A pinch
  • Oil  –  In a pan for deep frying.

Method:

Sift the flour and cooking soda in a sieve. Beat the egg with sugar till sugar dissolves. Mix the flour and egg-sugar mixture with the mashed banana, adding enough water to make a thick batter. Heat the oil in a deep fryer. Take a spoonful of this batter and drop gently into the hot oil.  5,6 pieces can be fried together. Cook till they are fluffy and evenly cooked to a golden brown color. Drain the excess oil and serve.

Tip: Use medium heat for frying as the inside of the paniyarams should be cooked thoroughly.

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Carrot Halwa – Halva

Carrot Halwa or Halva is a type of sweet preparation that is found across cultures from India to the Middle East and North Africa. It is often compared to the puddings of Europe. Different regions have their own unique ingredients and way of preparing it. In India, carrots are used commonly to make carrot halwa (gajer ka halwa). This dessert item is very easy to make.
Carrot Halwa

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Servings              : 2

Ingredients:

250  grams                        – Carrot (Orange color)
225  grams                        – Refined Sugar
500  ml                              – Milk
3                                          – Cardamom
Ghee (Clarified butter)   – 3 teaspoon

Method:

Grate carrot finely. Take a thick bottomed vessel or non stick pan and boil milk on high flame. When it starts to boil, add the grated carrot. When the milk is reduced to just a half a cup, add the sugar, powdered cardamom and ghee into the vessel. Now you have to lower the flame and keep stirring continuously till you get a sticky ball consistency.

Carrot Halwa
Carrot Halwa
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Laddu (Ladoo) – Sweet

Laddu

Laddu is a sweet delicacy prepared not only in Tamilnadu but all over India and South Asia, for festivals and special occasions.

Different types of laddus are made using different key ingredients such as Bengal gram, dhal(chickpea), flour ( besan), wheat flour, semolina (suji or rava ) and so on. Here the recipe is for the most common kind of laddu in India, using Bengal gram.

Laddu 1

 

 

Cooking time: 11/2 hours
Servings: 10
Ingredients:

  1. Bengal gram flour ( besan or kadalai mavu):  360 grams or 4 full cups
  2. Refined sugar: 600 grams or 31/2 cups
  3. Water: 2 cups
  4. Rice flour(raw rice): 2 1/4 teaspoon
  5. Soda bi-carb( cooking soda): 1/2 teaspoon
  6. Cardamom: 7
  7. Clove: 7
  8. Cashew: 50 grams
  9. Raisins: 40 grams
  10. Ghee(clarified butter): 100 grams
  11. Oil(preferably refined oil): 11/2 litre

You also need a perforated  ”boondhi” ladle, for frying the boondhi.

Method:

Mix the Bengal gram flour with rice flour and soda bicarb and add some water to make batter. This batter should be similar to ‘dosa’ batter consistency. Set aside. Take a thick-bottomed vessel and add both sugar and water(2cups). Heat on medium flame to make sugar syrup. You have to keep stirring often till you reach a certain consistency, which can be tested by taking some syrup between your thumb and index finger and spreading the fingers out. If the syrup is sticky and extends like a thread between the two fingers, it is ready. Set this aside. Powder the cardamom. Heat oil in a frying pan on high. When the oil is very hot, take a big spoon of flour batter. Place the ”bhoondhi” ladle over the hot oil, pour one spoonful of batter into the bhoondhi ladle and press down. Small balls of the dhal batter will drop into the oil. Once they are cooked, remove with another spoon, draining the excess oil. Let the fried batter balls (Boondhi) soak in the sugar syrup. Do the same with the rest of the batter. Using a big heavy spoon, pound the cooked mixture to a pulp. Fry the raisins and cashew in ghee and add to the pulp with the remaining ghee. Now you can add the powdered cardamom and the whole cloves, and make round laddus, pressing the pulp into spheres using your hands.

Laddu 2

Tips: Making the sugar syrup to the right thread-like consistency is the tricky part in the preparation of laddus. Adding colours and other ingredients like edible camphor, saffron or  ”diamond kalkandu”(sugar crystals) is optional.

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